Penn State Player Profile #2: Transfer DJ Newbill Could be X-Factor for Lions
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Height/Weight: 6’4, 205 lbs
-2010-11 Conference USA All-Freshman Team
-Redshirted last season with Penn State
-McDonalds All-America candidate in high school
-2010 Class 2A Player of the Year in Pennsylvania
This year’s Nittany Lions squad will look to continue developing their new identity moving forward in the Big Ten, and no one represents that progress better than incoming transfer Devonte “DJ” Newbill. DJ has always been highly touted, winning the Pennsylvania 2A player of the year in 2010 (side note: I also played 2A basketball in 2010, which makes me wonder if I finished second in the voting that year… yeah I don’t think so either). Newbill was offered a scholarship by Marquette, only to have that offer rescinded when all of the spots filled up on Marquette Coach Buzz Williams’ roster. Because of this unfortunate situation, DJ ended up signing on at the University of Southern Mississippi.
After coming over from Southern Miss (9.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg in 2010-11), Newbill spent last year’s NCAA mandated redshirt season learning coach Pat Chamber’s plays and working toward getting his body Big Ten ready. This included rehabbing a shoulder injury he suffered in the first week of practice last year and putting on some extra weight. For all his hard work and preparation, he earned the team’s Unsung Hero award, which (according to our friends at gopsusports.com) is given out to commend “terrific attitude, work ethic, and outstanding play in practice.”
Now, completely healthy and projected to be in the starting lineup this season, Newbill is ready to make an instant contribution. When I look at Newbill, the first thing that stands out is his elite size and strength for a shooting guard. After watching a few videos of his high school days at Strawberry Mansion High School and comparing them to video from him at Southern Miss, it is clear that Newbill has worked hard to develop his physique and become more of a presence on the defensive side of the court. This will allow him to guard everything from shooting guards to power forwards, which will be an invaluable tool for Pat Chambers to use. His strength can also be an asset in the paint, and not many finish around the rim as well as Newbill. He is what Chambers likes to call a ‘Philly guard.’
“He’s tough, gritty, and loves to play! He is a weapon and will open up the floor for everyone. He also brings a toughness that we haven’t seen in a while,” Chambers said of Newbill. If you believe the coach, then we have no problems here. However, if you are still on the fence about this kid, please refer to this video of him throwing down the hammer on what appears to be some hapless Conference USA foe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zX3onSAwBN0&feature=related
But there is more to DJ Newbill than his strength and toughness. Newbill has just as much length as his counterpart, Jermaine Marshall, and together they have the potential to become a top flight defensive wing pairing in the Big Ten. This could allow them to get out in transition and attack the basket, a specialty of both players. Furthermore, when senior leader Tim Frazier needs a break or is in foul trouble, Newbill has the capability to shift over to the point guard position and provide the second unit with a steady and experienced ball handler. An additional ball handler is always a calming influence for a new coach trying to establish his new offensive sets and schemes. Not to mention that Newbill can really hit the glass for a combo guard, and should average around 5 or 6 rpg once again this season. Coaches are always looking for more tough, scrappy players who can defend prodigiously and seem to always make winning plays in close games. Penn State has found theirs for the next three years.